Hugo von Hofmannsthal, (born Feb. 1, 1874, Vienna, Austria--died July 15, 1929, Rodaun, a suburb of Vienna), Austrian poet, dramatist, and essayist. He made his reputation with his lyrical poems and plays and became internationally famous for his collaboration with the German operatic composer Richard Strauss.The only child of a bank director, Hofmannsthal studied law at Vienna. At 16 he published his first poems, under the pseudonym Loris. They created a stir in Vienna and in Germany with their lyrical beauty, magic evocativeness of language, and dreamlike quality. Their anticipation..
Oskar Kokoschka, (born March 1, 1886, Pöchlarn, Austria—died February 22, 1980, Villeneuve, Switzerland), Austrian painter and writer who was one of the leading exponents of Expressionism. In his early portraits, gesture intensifies the psychological penetration of character; especially powerful among his later works are allegories of the artist’s emphatic humanism. His dramas, poems, and prose are significant for their psychological insight and stylistic daring.Early life and worksWhen Kokoschka was three years old, his father went bankrupt in a financial crash. The family was..
Franz Grillparzer, (born Jan. 15, 1791, Vienna [Austria]—died Jan. 21, 1872, Vienna), Austrian dramatist who wrote tragedies that were belatedly recognized as the greatest works of the Austrian stage.Grillparzer’s father was a lawyer who died in debt in 1809; his markedly neurotic mother committed suicide 10 years later. Grillparzer studied law at the University of Vienna and spent much of his life in government service. Beginning in 1814 as a clerk in the department of revenue, he became a clerk in the treasury (1818) and later director of the treasury archives. His hopes for a higher position..
Anton Wildgans, (born April 17, 1881, Vienna, Austria--died May 3, 1932, Modling, near Vienna), Austrian dramatist and poet known for his mystical dramas charged with the symbolic messages typical of German Expressionism.The son of a judge, Wildgans became a lawyer but soon turned to writing. His childhood had been marred by his relations with his stepmother. His early poems, among which was the collection Herbstfruhling (1909; "Autumn-Spring"), sold well; they recall the themes of idealism and reality in the late romantic works of Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Wildgans' plays, such as the trilogy..
Robert Musil, also called Robert, Edler (Nobleman) Von Musil, (born Nov. 6, 1880, Klagenfurt, Austria--died April 15, 1942, Geneva, Switz.), Austrian-German novelist, best known for his monumental unfinished novel Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften (1930-43; The Man Without Qualities).Musil received a doctorate from the University of Berlin in 1908 and then held jobs as a librarian and an editor before serving in the Austrian army in World War I (1914-18). (He inherited the Edler title, awarded his father in 1917, but did not use it as an author.) From 1918 to 1922 Musil was a civil servant in Vienna..
Stefan Zweig, (born November 28, 1881, Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire [now in Austria]--found dead February 23, 1942, Petropolis, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Austrian writer who achieved distinction in several genres--poetry, essays, short stories, and dramas--most notably in his interpretations of imaginary and historical characters.Zweig was raised in Vienna. His first book, a volume of poetry, was published in 1901. He received a doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1904 and traveled widely in Europe before settling in Salzburg, Austria, in 1913. In 1934, driven into exile..
Georg Trakl, (born Feb. 3, 1887, Salzburg, Austria--died Nov. 3, 1914, Cracow, Galicia, Austria-Hungary [now Krakow, Pol.]), Expressionist poet whose personal and wartime torments made him Austria's foremost elegist of decay and death. He influenced Germanic poets after both world wars.Trakl trained as a pharmacist at the University of Vienna (1908-10). He led an unhappy existence; he was moody and withdrawn and had become addicted to drugs as early as 1904. Moreover, he felt an incestuous attraction to his younger sister Margarete and was plagued by restless wanderlust.The patronage..
Thomas Bernhard, (born Feb. 9/10, 1931, Cloister Heerland, Neth.--died Feb. 12, 1989, Gmunden, Austria), Austrian writer who explored death, social injustice, and human misery in controversial literature that was deeply pessimistic about modern civilization in general and Austrian culture in particular.Bernhard was born in a Holland convent; his mother, unwed at the time, had fled there from Austria to give birth. After a year, she returned to her parents in Vienna, where her father, writer Johannes Freumbichler (1881-1949), became the major influence on Bernhard. After surviving..
Rudolf Steiner, (born February 27, 1861, Kraljevic, Austria--died March 30, 1925, Dornach, Switzerland), Austrian-born spiritualist, lecturer, and founder of anthroposophy, a movement based on the notion that there is a spiritual world comprehensible to pure thought but accessible only to the highest faculties of mental knowledge.Attracted in his youth to the works of Goethe, Steiner edited that poet's scientific works and from 1889 to 1896 worked on the standard edition of his complete works at Weimar. During this period he wrote his Die Philosophie der Freiheit (1894; "The Philosophy..
Karl Kraus, (born April 28, 1874, Gitschin, Bohemia [now Jicin, Czech Republic]--died June 12, 1936, Vienna, Austria), Austrian journalist, critic, playwright, and poet who has been compared with Juvenal and Jonathan Swift for his satiric vision and command of language. In German literature he ranks as an outstanding writer of the World War I era, but, because his work is almost untranslatably idiomatic, his talents have not been widely recognized.Of Jewish parentage, Kraus attended the University of Vienna but abandoned his studies to earn his living as a writer. In 1899 he founded the literary..